eWater CRC — Science for the real world e-newsletter
Feature — 15 September 2010
 
Orange City Council leading the way on stormwater harvesting
 Enable images to view Faced with continuing dry conditions over many years and the uncertainty of future rainfalls, Orange City Council In western New South Wales has broken new ground in the harvesting of stormwater for urban use.

The council’s stormwater harvesting scheme, which kicked off in 2008, is already giving residents access to significantly more water every year and giving the council new confidence in its ability to secure urban water supplies.

The first large scale, indirect-to-potable stormwater harvesting project in the state – the Blackmans Swamp Creek Stormwater Harvesting Scheme – started in 2008. The scheme is ultimately capable of providing up to 2000 megalitres (ML) of additional water into Orange’s raw water supply each year. That represents up to 35% of the city’s 5700ML normal annual water usage. The scheme has been so successful that the council has since expanded the project to include Ploughmans Creek. The final part of council’s stormwater harvesting strategy is a proposed extension of the Blackmans Swamp Creek scheme.

“The concept of the Blackmans Swamp Creek Stormwater Harvesting Scheme involves capturing a portion of the high flows in Blackmans Swamp Creek during storm events, and transferring these into the nearby Suma Park Dam to augment the city’s bulk water supply,” says Martin Haege, Environmental Engineer at Geolyse Pty Ltd, who played a major part in the development.

Developed with the aid of eWater CRC’s powerful stormwater modelling tool, music, the harvesting scheme evolved from concept to operational reality within 18 months at a cost of $5 million. It involved extensive consultation with the community and government authorities and a thorough analysis to satisfy concerns about the safety, reliability and capacity of the scheme.

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